10 Back to School Clothes Shopping Tips

69248456_1444124729074177_9071355599307931648_n.png

We are currently enjoying the last few days of summer vacation – I hope you are, too! As summer draws to a close, it means it is time to go back to school shopping. After having kids in school for a few years now, I have learned some key things to do to make back to school clothes shopping more successful. I hope these tips help you just as much as they helped me!

69024056_1071438169912203_3607878021626724352_n.png

Review the School Dress Code

Before you do any back to school clothes shopping, you absolutely must review the school dress code – especially if your school does not have uniforms. This is so important. There is nothing worse than shopping for all the clothes just to find out they do not comply with the dress code.

69261206_347808969432516_4661817353447669760_n.png

Check Sizes in Advance

Another mistake you want to avoid is buying the wrong size clothes. Or buying new clothes when your kids really don’t need them. If your child is still wearing the same size, look over the clothes to see if they are still in good condition before you spend a bunch of money on clothes your child will outgrow sooner rather than later.

69714078_2495955417114204_8359268902307364864_n.png

Clear the Closets

Next, go through your child’s closet and clear any clothes he or she has outgrown or clothes that are not in good condition. This is a great way to see what you really need to buy versus what you don’t. For example, your child may have plenty of jeans but not enough socks (since they somehow always disappear).

69277209_753177885212260_2178788363245453312_n.png

Donate the Excess

After you have cleared the closet, donate the items that no longer fit your child. If you are looking to make some money from your child’s outgrown clothing, then head to your favorite consignment shop. Or, donate the clothing to an organization with a mission you support.

68758169_2572773972781008_8277921568886095872_n.png

Give Yourself Time

We are getting really close to the back to school shopping deadline. Give yourself plenty of time to shop so you avoid rushing. If you wait until the last minute, you will wind up spending more than you want and purchasing things you don’t need.

69130242_407636793271853_7115216584045494272_n.png

Do It Online or Go Kid-Free

When it comes to back to school clothes shopping, try to do it alone. It is much easier to shop for back to school clothing when your kids aren’t with you since they will want everything they don’t actually need (such as accessories) and having them with you will take so much longer. Better yet, take your list of sizes and clothing needs and shop online at your favorite retailer!

68284039_408240820040270_7792698776786829312_n.png

Set a Budget

Next, be sure to set a budget before you start to shop. We all spend quite a bit on back to school shopping, so budget accordingly. Having a budget will help you decide which items you should pass on and which ones are worth it.

68985573_961058247571091_6149174698535026688_n.png

Take Advantage of Sales, Discounts, and Coupons

You can find some excellent back to school shopping deals. Stock up on the coupons by signing up for emails from your favorite stores. You will get emails alerts about sales and coupons you can use when shopping.

69985115_409934912963249_7327037129769353216_n.png

Shop Overstock Stores

I love doing my back to school clothes shopping at overstock stores like T.J. Maxx. I can purchase my girls designer goods at great prices, ensuring they look fabulous and I have money left over for school supplies.

69039717_2584922361586386_1446717449704570880_n.png

Off-Season Merchandise is Your Friend

Finally, go ahead and stock up on off-season merchandise. Guesstimate your child’s size next summer and purchase a few key pieces (such as swimsuits) while they are on clearance. If you shop wisely, you will either have clothes in the right clothes for next year or clothes you can consign and make your money back on.

Shop Well – Not Cheap

67562719_509406029804762_7321002189617364992_n.png

It’s no secret that I love to shop. I love it so much that I recently became a personal shopper at Neiman Marcus – you can see all the fun I’m having with this new gig and all my favorite looks on my Insta @inrachelstyles. As I have grown older and wiser, I have learned the secret to shopping for shoes, purses, and clothing. Shop well- not cheap.

When you are young and living paycheck to paycheck, it is so easy to fall for fast-fashion and snap up everything for your closet from stores like Forever 21 and H&M. Now hear me out – you can find some good looks at stores that sell cheap clothing. But, the problem is these clothes do not last, and people can tell they are cheap.

Instead, it is much wiser to shop well rather than cheap. I’d much rather spend more money on clothing that is well-designed, well-made, and long-lasting.

Longer Lasting Clothing

67781826_2144216352537810_4605799155862863872_n.png

When you shop cheap, you are simply looking at the price tag when you should be factoring in the number of times the item will be worn. Fashion experts refer to this as the cost per wear equation. As Glamour explains, “The simplest version of that math is dividing the price on the label by how many times you think you'll wear the item.” Glamour also has a cost per wear calculator on their site for easy use.

What you will likely discover is that you end up spending less money in the long run on higher cost clothing this way. For example, the cheap shirt you purchased may only be able to be worn a few times before it shows wear and tear, whereas the high-quality coat you purchased is worn for several years.

Higher Quality Materials

67559685_652036141975074_1072457465569738752_n.png

The reason the more expensive products typically last longer is that they are better made. Rather than being mass-produced at fast speeds (resulting in less than the best seams, embroidering, and such), these products are developed with better materials, such as natural fibers like silk and wool, in a less demanding amount of time.

Better Resale Value

67682033_519003302187909_6704931990484811776_n.png

Women change out their closets pretty regularly as fashions change. Therefore, it is important to consider the resale value of your clothing when you purchase it originally. For example, you will likely get pennies (if anything) for that shirt you purchased at Forever 21, but you can earn a nice chunk when you resell high-end designer goods.

Less is More

67739376_377139116323615_2019516433150509056_n.png

Finally, it is wise to embrace the notion that “less is more.” Wouldn’t you rather have a few, high-end, well-made, designer goods than a bunch of cheap items that fall apart easily before the next season? I know that matters to me. It is easy to get caught up in the idea of “more, more, more,” but if it gets in the way of looking good and feeling good, that’s a hard pass for me. Less is more, ladies, less is more.

All the Heart Eye Emojis for T.J.Maxx + A Giveaway!

IMG_6141.JPG

Oh, T.J. Maxx, my love for you knows no end. As Rod Stewart famously sang, “You fill my heart with gladness. You take away all my sadness. You ease my troubles. That’s what you do.” I could visit your stores every day and still find something new.

If you already love T.J. Maxx or have never had the pleasure of visiting a T.J. Maxx store, I am here to shout my love all across the internet. Trust me – if you don’t already love T.J. Maxx, you will by the time you finish reading what I’m sharing today.

Clarifying Some Untruths About T.J. Maxx

IMG_6143.JPG

Some people turn their noses up at the thought of shopping at T.J. Maxx assuming it is a discount store. These snobbish people are making a big mistake.

First, T.J. Maxx is NOT a discount store; it is actually an “off-price retailer.”

Second, the products are not out of style. In fact, T.J. Maxx stocks the same current season items as Macy’s and Nordstrom.

Third, their items are not priced cheap because they are marked irregular. There is only a small percentage (5%) of irregular products sold in the stores.

I’m a Maxxinista. You Should Be a Maxxinista, too.

IMG_6163.jpg

Now that I’ve shed some light on the wrong ideas people have about T.J. Maxx, it is time to explain why I love T.J. Maxx. When I shop at T.J. Maxx, I don’t have to sacrifice quality or price to get looks I love. Why spend extra money on the same thing at a different store? Instead, I can go home with more shopping bags full of quality items I adore for the same price I’d spend for one bag at a department store.

T.J. Maxx Has Everything – and Then Some

IMG_6144.JPG

Another reason to love T.J. Maxx is that they sell everything – seriously. In addition to the great clothing, you can also find shoes, handbags, accessories, fine jewelry, makeup, and hair products. You can put together your entire look from shopping at this one store. T.J. Maxx also sells clothing for men and children.

But, that’s not all! T.J. Maxx also sells home décor, toys, and pet products. Plus, I recently visited T.J. Maxx to stock up on vacation necessities such as clothing, swimsuits, luggage, beach towels, portable chargers, passport cases, and beach toys for the girls.

It’s Easy to See Why T.J. Maxx is Thriving While Other Retailers are Failing

IMG_6186.JPG

Every week, we seem to hear about another failing retail store. However, this is not the case for T.J. Maxx. Whereas other long-time retail stores are closing or merging with other brands, more and more T.J. Maxx stores are opening. It’s because they offer the same products we all love at prices we all want.

My Instagram Maxxinista Giveaway

There is a large scale pop-up in the Flatiron Plaza full of my personal T.J. Maxx picks for going on vacation with the entire family with the coolest things to wear, to bring, and to have fun with! Stop by and check it out! If you can guess the price of everything that is in my pod, you have a chance at winning it all!

Think your Maxxinista skills can help you win? Hop over to this Instagram post and comment and guess the price of my pod.

It’s Time to Treat Your Handbags Like They Are Investments

52487933_287620841909612_9170072257215594496_n.png

Lately, I have been shouting my love for handbags all across the blog and social media. I love my handbags – and I know you love yours, too!

Here’s the thing, ladies. If we are willing to spend big bucks on our designer bags because we see them as investment pieces, then it is time we treat them as such.

No more tossing them around or laying them on the floors of our closets. If we choose to hold on to a bag rather than ship it off to Rebag, then we better treat that bag like it is worth the money we spent on it.

Rookie Mistakes

If you are storing your bags in plastic storage bins, it is time to stop. This is a bad environment for your bags because of moisture. Moisture leads to mold. Mold on my precious purse? No thank you. If you must store bags away seasonally, then store them using some of the other methods we will discuss below.

Store Handbags Upright

Whenever and wherever possible, storage your handbags upright rather than laying them on their sides. This is better for the bag’s shape and material overall. The problem with storing bags upright is that if you do not use purse inserts, they will flop over. This is not good either.

Store Handbags with Purse Inserts

With that being said, it is important to store your handbags using purse inserts. Now, since every purse is shaped differently, there is not one set purse insert you can buy. However, you can use household items such as scarves or acid-free tissue paper to stuff the bag. This will ensure the handbag keeps it shape.

Store Handbags in Dust Covers

Since we are talking about designer bags, then surely you know about the importance of a dust cover as all designer bags come with one. These dust covers are given to you with the handbag because they protect the bag while it is not in use from dust and grime.

If you made the mistake of tossing the original dust cover, you can purchase a handbag dust cover from The Container Store or simply use a cotton pillow cover.

Switch It Up

Quite possibly the most fun care and storage tip – switch your bags up regularly! If you use the same bag daily, it will show wear. Instead, have fun switching your bags to match your outfits and moods.

Clever Ways to Store Your Handbags

Now, I know everyone has different amounts of storage space. Some women have to be more clever about how to take care of their handbag collection. So, I have compiled a few of my favorite examples for handbag storage to share with you. I’m sure you will find a handbag storage option that is perfect for your home.

Acrylic Purse Shelf Dividers

Over the Door Purse Organizers

Closet Rod Hangers

Clutch Organizers

Bookshelf Display

10 Of My Favorite Ways to Treat Myself

52684466_576587986151568_7503121365747105792_n.png

Some days you just have to treat yo’self. After working long hours and coming home to take care of my precious daughters, I have earned a treat. If you are like me, you understand the necessity of treating yourself to something special every now and then. Depending on my mood (and my budget), the way I choose to treat myself varies widely. All that matters is that I am doing something just for me.

1. A Glass of Wine

52854030_2011755155605438_106435001901383680_n.png

Some days the easiest way to treat myself is with a glass of wine in the evening after the girls have gone to bed.

2. Fresh Flowers

52134248_259995421565287_9186735549208068096_n.png

I love having fresh flowers in my home, so this is one of my go-to ways to treat myself. Their beautiful blooms always brighten my mood.

3. A New Handbag

52396206_237769000508727_1991023856332046336_n.png

When I really feel the need to treat myself, I head to Rebag and make a handbag swap. Nothing says “treat yo’self” like a luxurious handbag.

4. Fabulous Footwear

52578907_302444553801913_38146155766349824_n.png

By now, you all know my love for fabulous footwear. The way I most often treat myself is by splurging on the newest designer footwear.

5. Eat Extravagantly

52338352_547348009106887_2254032333390741504_n.png

Life is busy, and my meals are often rushed, so when I feel the mood to treat myself, I like to eat well – really well. No microwaveable dinners or fast food. I want fine dining and food I can’t eat every day.

6. Drink Coffee Leisurely

52338459_252611039002576_7654363656913682432_n.png

All moms know that we seldom get to drink our coffee while it is still warm, so on a “treat myself” day, I make it a point to enjoy my coffee while it is hot. I head to my favorite coffee shop and linger. No rushing and no waiting until it is too cold.

7. Soak in the Tub

52543552_289397048407717_6641696018754699264_n.png

My bathroom is my sanctuary. When I soak in the tub, the kids no the bathroom is off limits to them. This is me-time. Plus, have you heard a hot bath burns as many calories as taking a 30-minute walk.

8. Indulge My Sweet Tooth

52819975_236725057282386_1536910345581363200_n.png

We don’t tend to have candy in our house at all times. It is a special treat for the kids, but it is also a special treat for mom. Every now and then, I have earned the right to indulge in my favorite sweets.

9. Lotion Up

52590132_322098405317052_4229523968777781248_n.png

I’m also a big fan of things you can do for yourself as a special treat that are also good for you, like pointing on a great body lotion. Lotions are so good for your skin, but they also make you feel good. When it comes to treating myself, I use a lotion that I don’t just every day.

10. Read a Gossip Magazine

52854519_305374163462074_554091733697167360_n.png

Somedays the best way to treat myself is to turn my brain off. I like to do this by reading a trashy gossip magazine. It takes little brain power, but it is highly enjoyable.

What about you? What are some of your favorite ways to treat yo’self? Let me know in the comments!

Why Grown-Ups Should Make Christmas Wish Lists Too

47213088_2218846034792563_6659257959639416832_n.png

Have you ever received a bad Christmas gift? Or a duplicate gift? Or a gift that made it seem like the gift-giver did not know you at all? This happens all the time! I have received questionable gifts even from the people who know me best! This is just one of the reasons I believe we should keep making Christmas wish lists – even as adults!

After years adulting, I am at a place in my life where I basically have all I need. And, I often just got to the store or online to buy the things I want. I’m definitely not the only one! Our generation is used to getting the things we want when we want them – without waiting for Santa to place it underneath the Christmas tree.

But, this kind of takes the fun out of receiving gifts at Christmas time. Not only does it make it especially difficult for others to buy you gifts at the holidays, but it also takes away the fun of receiving gifts. Instead, I have started making my personal Christmas wish list alongside my daughters each year. Here’s why.

Your Wants Change Overtime

47174350_619166075169196_2008353482435723264_n.png

As the years go by, what you want as a gift will change. When you are just starting out, you will want to fill your home with the basics. When your home has all the basics, you’ll want things that are more personalized. And, when your home is simply filled with things, you’ll want fewer things and more gifts of experiences (such as tickets to Paris). To help the people in your life know what you want this year, fill them in!

No More Guessing

47257592_509357106214078_1630710949562286080_n.png

Having a Christmas wish list takes guessing out of the equation. If you are married or in a relationship, you have no doubt hinted at the things you want for Christmas. But, as any woman can tell you, just because you hint doesn’t mean your man is going to get it. You know what he will get? A wish list in writing.

No More Filling Your Home with Stuff You Don’t Love

47073670_486190231788749_8637603828427915264_n.png

I try to fill my home and closets with things I love. However, at Christmas, I receive gifts that I am less than crazy about, but then I feel guilty about not using them. This is another reason why I craft a wish list that covers a small variety of things I truly love to share with my family and friends. This helps them find something I will love and use rather than having to guess and purchase something that isn’t my taste.

No More Unnecessary Stress

freestocks-org-487542-unsplash.jpg

I love to shop, but Christmas shopping can be stressful. As a shopper, I love to shop and find the perfect presents for the ones I love. But this is a busy time of year and the less time I have to spend browsing the racks to find the perfect present, the better. If someone gives me a wish list, it makes my holiday shopping so much easier. I figure I am doing the same by giving my loved ones a wish list.

The Best Ways to Make a Grown-Up Christmas List

giftster

Now that you understand my reasons let’s talk about the appropriate ways to make a grown-up Christmas list.

  1. This is not a kid’s wish list. It should be tasteful and brief. Do not list a ton of things. Stick to the items you would really love to receive as a gift.

  2. With that being said, try to cover different budgets and leave the more extravagant items to those you know can afford it and are likely to make these types of big purchases.

  3. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for gift cards, but you should specify the stores or restaurants you frequent (or those you wish you could).

  4. Use a service such as Giftster. Giftster is a free online gift registry that makes it easy to share your wish lists with family and friends. (Plus, this service can be used for any occasion – think birthdays, too!)

Where to Shop This Black Friday - WINNER ANNOUNCED!

46454499_2804957716196373_2957385227279794176_n.png

While Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what you have, Black Friday is all about shopping for what you don’t have. For those who love to shop as much as I do, Black Friday is our true holiday! It is a day when the rush of shopping is celebrated – and no one bats an eye when you walk around carrying tons of shopping bags. Shopping mavens, rejoice!

To help guide all my fellow Black Friday competitive shoppers, I am highlighting my picks for the best places to find great deals on Black Friday.

The Best Places to Find Deep Discounts

46473306_350806075682214_2296979107247816704_n.png

First, let’s tackle the staples in the industry. You want to head to the department stores offering the biggest discounts. According to Wallet Hub, the store offering the steepest discounts is Belk. Belk has a 2018 average discount of 68.9 percent off regular prices. Kohl’s and Macy’s department store are also in their top ten list. Also, you can expect to find great discounts (and big crowds) at Walmart, Target and Old Navy.

Where to Shop in Your Pajamas

46321630_979134555609414_1545341903254323200_n.png

For those of you who do not enjoy the Black Friday frenzy or the large crowds, you can find excellent Black Friday deals online. Even better, many of the major online stores (such as Amazon and Walmart) are offering free Christmas shipping or competitively low shipping costs. You will find the best shopping deals on Amazon and Walmart with Best Buy rounding out the group.

Be aware that online sites will run specials beginning at certain times similarly to actual storefronts. If you know an online retailer will drop the price of an item you have to have, then you might want to set up a notification or alarm. For instance, Amazon will run lightning deals for certain products which will likely sell out in a matter of minutes.

If You Want to Shop in NYC, Here’s Where You Should Go

46399940_1985867035043767_4529499774813995008_n.png

For those of us who call NYC home or those who will be visiting the city that never sleeps over Thanksgiving, you can head to high-end retail stores to find exceptional Black Friday sales beginning on Thanksgiving. Macy’s Herald Square will be open from 5 pm – 2 am on Thanksgiving, and it will reopen on Black Friday at 6 am. Saks Off Fifth and Bloomingdale’s will also have offer Black Friday deals. If you want to finish your Christmas shopping all in one upscale place, head to Brookfield Place luxury mall.

I’m Going to Make One Reader’s Christmas Wish Come True!

46491611_840471289617280_712122559977488384_n.png

While you are spending your Black Friday shopping for those you love, I want to do something special for one lucky reader. What do you want for Christmas this year? Tell me in the comments of this blog. I will choose one commenter and send her what she wished for! It’s really that simple.

So, what are you waiting for? Tell me what you want this Christmas below. I will choose the lucky Christmas wish winner after Black Friday and send the present her way.

UPDATE: THANK YOU FOR ALL THE COMMENTS. I WOULD LIKE TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER IS AMY - WHO WOULD LIKE A GIFT CARD TO HELP HER BUY SOME THINGS FROM HER DAMAGED HOME FROM HURRICANE IRMA. PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL!